SANDUSKY — The Saturday and Sunday shutdown of Cedar Point due to a break in a city water line that serves the park cost the well-known attraction between $1 million and $1.75 million, spokesman Dennis Spiegel said.
Spiegel is president of International Theme Park Services Inc., a Cincinnati-based company that provides consulting, development and management services for amusement and theme parks in the U.S. and globally.
The park’s losses for the weekend included admissions as well as purchases of food and merchandise and money paid for parking, Spiegel said.
“On a busy day at the peak of the season, parks the size of Cedar Point and Kings Island can do well over $1 million a day in business,” Spiegel said.
The timing of the park’s sudden closing couldn’t have been worse.
“Schools have just let out and vacations are starting and people are on the road,” Spiegel said.
He surmised that Cedar Fair, the Sandusky-based partnership that operates Cedar Point as well as other amusement and water parks, may have insurance that covers so-called “business interruptions” that close parks due to weather, power outages or in this case, a water line break.
Cedar Point public relations manager Bryan Edwards could not be reached Tuesday.
Cedar Point and its Soak City water park reopened Monday after Sandusky city crews repaired the water line.
While amusement parks are not at fault in such emergencies, it is nonetheless tough to explain to thousands of people — including out-of-state visitors — that they have to be turned away at the gate.
Crowds likely would have been large Saturday due to picture-perfect weather, while Sunday’s rainy conditions didn’t clear up until mid-afternoon.
Calling Cedar Fair a “world-class company,” Spiegel said it did the right thing by issuing free Soak City tickets good through Sept. 1 when a discounted one-day Cedar Point ticket is purchased by Sunday.
The ticket offer, available only online, also requires the Cedar Point ticket to be used by Sunday.
“That’s exactly what they would do and should do from a guest satisfaction standpoint,” Spiegel said of the ticket deal.
Over the course of a summer, Cedar Point and Kings Island can typically do $140 million in business, Spiegel said.
In terms of making money, theme parks “are better than a great casino any time,” Spiegel said.